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Full text of "NightRider"

i66

at the gate, and the clear sunshine flooded over the green
meadows and the vigorous-looking ploughed fields.

But the night before, as once or twice earlier and on several
nights to come, he had waked up in the middle of the night
and raised himself on his elbow and stared at her sleeping
face. It is hard to know anybody, he had thought, really
know them. Now, riding along the lane in the morning
freshness, he recalled that incident.

And then he puzzled over the fact that he, who was now
riding off down the lane toward town, had stood at the edge
of a patch of woods five nights before, his ears sharpened to
catch any warning whistle from the posted watchers, and
had waited while three men dragged the plant bed there
before him. That did not disturb him.

He felt no sense of guilt because he could not tell May;
even if there had been no oath of secrecy he would not have
told her. He knew that. There was no reason to tell her.
She lived in another kind of world. But on the occasions
when he was to meet with the men of his band, Band Num-
ber 17, he told her that he had to stay in town late for work
and would sleep at the hotel. If he should come in too late,
it would disturb her. But, then, he did not want to go to the
hotel at such an hour. The old man who kept the desk at
night, and slept the fitful sleep of the aged on a cot in a
cubbyhole just behind it, might wake up and notice him; or
some late sitter in the lobby, one of those men who sat there
alone some nights, hour after hour, smoking and spitting into
the brass cuspidors, and staring at the opposite wall. Several
times he spent the night with Mr. Wyngard, a member of Band
17, who was a bachelor and had a place near town. On other
occasions, although Mr. Christian did not belong to his band,
he stayed at the Christian place. Once they left the lamp
burning in the hall for him, and he took his shoes off on the
front porch, and carrying the lamp in one hand and the shoes
in the other, crept up the stairs to the room which he had
occupied that night when Mr. Ball had been there. But Mr.
Christian heard him on the stairs and came out in his night-